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richk449
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Political correctness versus actual correctness Reply with quote

D wrote:
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It seems to explain a lot to me.

I thought it was tautological, like saying someone is sick because he isn't healthy.

It is definitely not tautological. For comparison, saying "there is a lot of warfare because many people are fighting" would be tautological.

On the other hand, saying that there is a lot of warfare because no group has become dominant enough to hold a monopoly on violence in some region, and thus prevent most violence in the controlled area, has explanatory and predictionary* power, which makes it at least more than a tautology.

* or predictory, perhaps?
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richk449
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:22 am    Post subject: Re: Political correctness versus actual correctness Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
richk449 wrote:
"tribal warfare tends to be chronic, because there are not strong central governments that can enforce peace"

I'm not positive, but I think this guy may be a dipshit. Strong central governments usually arise when one warring faction massacres and oppresses the others. So he's saying there is a lot of warfare because no one has won yet? Seems pretty odd.

Different guy:
Quote:
"What sort of person goes around saying that mass murder has a good side?" Morris asks over a glass of Redwood Ale at a bar back in Boulder Creek. "The sort of person who's been very surprised by the results of his research."

That research starts from one of the big social-science findings of recent decades. In Stone Age societies, 10 to 20 percent of the population died violently. Yet by the 20th century, despite two world wars, the Holocaust, and nuclear weapons, only 1 to 2 percent did. What explains that decline?

The Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker wrestled with similar questions in his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature. But Morris claims Pinker didn't "bring enough historical firepower to bear." If you take the long view, he says, you're forced to face a paradoxical explanation for the decline in violence: war.

War creates bigger societies, either through conquest or because groups unite from fear of it. Rulers of these societies suppress internal violence.

"As these societies get bigger and bigger," Morris says, "the number of people running around whacking each other on the head all the time goes down. And the world becomes a more peaceful place."

It becomes richer, too: Evidence suggests that the standard of living rises as societies get bigger and more integrated.

But the evolution of war, like biological evolution, is a "messy proc­ess." What Morris calls "productive war"—the kind that makes bigger and safer societies—can often turn "counterproductive," breaking up states.

http://chronicle.com/article/In-Ian-Morriss-Big-History/137415/
Good article in general. I bet BK would like it. Here is another portion:
Quote:
The idea, detailed in Why the West Rules, is that an intellectual revolution takes place between 800 and 200 BC. Confucianism and Daoism in China. Buddhism and Jainism in India. The Hebrew Bible and Greek philosophy in the West. From East Asia to the Mediterranean, new systems of thought emerge that shape how billions of people make sense of the world for millennia to come.

All share a notion of transcendence. Reaching this superior realm involves a process of self-fashioning. Live ethically. Renounce desire. Do unto others. Practice these principles in your personal life, the thinking goes, and you will change the world.

Morris sums it up with a three-word bumper sticker he once saw in Boulder Creek: "Compassion Is Revolution."

The notion of an Axial Age—meaning the centuries around 500 BC formed an axis around which history turned—originated with the German philosopher Karl Jaspers after World War II. But Morris takes it further with a basic question: Why? Why all these upheavals at one time across this enormous area?

With a fusillade of rapid-fire typing, the students record his answer on their laptops: the shift away from "godlike kings."

The moral order of society had rested on rulers who claimed privileged access to the gods—"hotlines to superhumans," as Morris puts it. But after 1000 BC, he says, people across Eurasia begin to question that system. "Cosmological angst" descends on the intellectuals. We're cut off from the transcendental realm, they think. What to do?

Axial thought emerges as a response to this problem, says Morris, a way that people themselves can reconnect to the transcendental.

That's the intellectual story. But why is that happening? Why do people start questioning godlike kings in the first place?

In Morris's telling, the answer isn't so much culture. It's material forces.

From the Mediterranean to China, he says, population at least doubles between 1000 and 500 BC. Social problems explode. One result is a change in the organization of societies.

The old way of doing things—illustrated by the dorm-raiding story—breaks down. Godlike kings morph into something "more like a CEO." These manager-kings control states with big bureaucracies, taxes, and armies.

Long story short, as godlike kings give way to high-end states, an "intellectual vacuum" opens that gets filled by Axial Age thinkers. And their ideas, "countercultural" at first, eventually get co-opted by shrewd rulers.

"This is why the ancient world is important," Morris says. "You go from these little disorganized societies to these big, really organized societies. In the process, you create this Axial thought that lays the intellectual foundations for the next 2,000 years."
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Prenj
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem I have in general with such writings and "findings" is that somehow they all assume that "something" happened that changed the human world, as if otherwise the human world wouldn't not change.

I rather think that the human world changes, and the pace and happenings that occur are product of the manifestation of the change, rather then other way around. Life, in other words.

For me it's kinda easier to imagine an introvert, bookish, autistic academic sitting in a library somewhere trying to figure out why the world changes, when the question is "why wouldn't it?".
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